Last Updated on April 5, 2023
Picasso once said about his native city, “to be a Cubist, you have to have been born in Málaga.” We’re certain there is a lot of inspiration an artist can receive from living in or visiting Malaga, Spain.
A stunning coastal city located in the southern region of Spain; Malaga should be considered by anyone planning a trip to Europe. Like the rest of Andalusia’s coast, Malaga has a Mediterranean climate with an average of 300 days of sunshine per year.
Visitor figures soared after the Museo Picasso opened in 2003 and again after a new cruise terminal was opened in 2011. Many of its historic buildings have been lovingly restored and the city has become one of southern Europe’s renowned centers of art.
Vibrant, welcoming Malaga is also known for its rich history, delicious cuisine, and stunning beaches, making it an ideal destination for travelers of all ages.
If you’re planning a trip to Malaga, here are some top things to do that will make your visit an unforgettable experience.
Visit Alcazaba de Malaga
This ancient Moorish palace-fortress is one of Malaga’s top attractions and possibly the finest remaining Moorish fortress in Spain. Built in the 11th century, the impressive palace is now a museum showcasing the city’s rich history and culture.
From the palace, visitors are blessed with the best views across Malaga. If you visit in the late afternoon, you’ll see the La Malagueta bullring, the marina, the Paseo del Parque and the Old Town bathed in the setting sun.
Explore the Museo Picasso Málaga (Picasso Museum)
Malaga is the birthplace of the famous artist Pablo Picasso. Though his last visit to Málaga was at the age of 19, one of his later-in-life wishes was that his work be displayed in the city of his birth. That wish became a reality in 2003.
The Picasso Museum features a large collection of the famous artist’s paintings, drawings, and sculptures thanks to continued gifts from Picasso’s daughter-in-law and grandson. This is a marvelous place to study both his life and works of art including delicate portraits of his son so realistic, one would believe they were photographs.
Enjoy Malaga’s Beaches
People travel to the Costa del Sol for a number of reasons, but being blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in Spain, makes Malaga a real draw.
On Malaga’s beaches, you can soak up the sun, relax, and enjoy the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Active beach goers will love the kite surfing, kayaking and other water sports available.
Some of the most popular beaches in Malaga include Playa de la Malagueta and Playa de la Caleta.
Visit the Cathedral of Malaga
This stunning cathedral, built between the 16th and 18th centuries, is a testament to the city’s rich history and architecture. It is also home to beautiful works of art.
A walk around the cathedral on Calle Cister leads to the magnificent Gothic Puerta del Sagrario. Guided tours here take visitors to a rooftop walkway that provides stunning views of the ocher domes and the city.
The enclosed choir which miraculously survived the burnings of Spain’s Civil War was fully restored in 2019. 17th-century artist Pedro de Mena carved the wood in the choir loft wafter-thin in some places to express the fold of a robe or shape of a finger. The choir also has a pair of massive 18th-century pipe organs, one of which is still played for concerts.
Shop at Mercado Central De Atarazanas (Atarazanas Market)
The best time to hit Malaga’s amazing market, also an architectural gem, is early morning when the vendors are shouting out to shoppers to buy their fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, or aromatic teas and spices.
When you’re ready to take a break, nearby cafes are perfect for a breakfast of coffee and toast or a sweet Spanish pastry.
El Bar de los Pueblos opposite the market offers a wonderful menu with reasonable-priced tapas and drinks.
Enjoy Plaza de la Constitución
Located in the heart of Old Town, Malaga’s historic center is a maze of narrow streets and alleys that are perfect for a leisurely stroll.
The center is also home to some of the best bars and restaurants in the city and the hub of Malaga’s social life. This is where the Malagueños hang out, stop for a beer or share tapas under the shaded parasol of Central Café, or come to take part in festivities from Carnival to Christmas, as they have done for a few hundred years.
Try the Tapas
The Spanish actually have a word for eating tapas- tapeo. The best way to try new foods is to order tapas to share.
You’ll find restaurants all throughout the city offering these smaller bite delights from oysters, stuffed olives, tortillas and Serrano ham to empanadas and more. Try something you’ve never had before. That’s all part of the fun.
Enjoy the Nightlife
Malaga is known for its vibrant nightlife, with plenty of bars, clubs, taverns, tapa bars and discos to choose from. Not a surprise when you consider it’s a popular destination for both young students and tourists.
From live music venues to trendy rooftop bars, the city exudes a cool unique vibe. And how awesome that Malaga’s public transportation system can take you wherever you want to be.
Malaga is a fantastic southern European destination for travelers looking to experience the best of Spain’s culture, history, and natural beauty. With its stunning beaches, rich history, and vibrant nightlife, there is no shortage of things to do here.